4 ways to clean up your martech mess

Mark Pollard

5 minute read

In our previous post, “9 signs your martech is a mess,” we helped you determine whether your marketing technology stack works like a dream or is one hot martech mess. If you discovered that your tech is causing you stress, read this post to start identifying the solutions to your tech headaches.

Martech messes don’t happen overnight, so they can’t be resolved overnight. Your first clue that something is amiss might come from your customers, especially if you notice your email engagement statistics start to drop or you get complaints that customers are getting the wrong kinds of emails.

The voice of the customer can be a powerful indication that your marketing tech stack is out of whack. Consider surveying your customers on the value and relevance of your email messages. You don’t have to ask technical questions – just those that will help you identify where your tech might be misaligning with expectations.

Also, do an internal review of your stack. This will help you identify problems with integration, the inefficiency of legacy systems, reveal functional gaps and highlight the need to add new capabilities. Consider bringing in outside tech experts to audit your marketing technology impartially. They shouldn’t be beholden to any internal factions or locked into agreements with tech vendors.

Your outside evaluations can help you prioritize issues to tackle and identify process and team- related improvements to enhance utilization. The last thing you might need is more technology to solve your technology problems.

Finding solutions for your martech

There’s no single solution to fix tech problems and build an efficient marketing tech stack. Instead, the solution for you is probably some combination of these four:

1. Operational enhancements:

Remember when we said you need the right combination of people, processes, and technology?

In this situation, your tech platform is likely the right choice, but your employees are using only the most basic features, and your processes don’t support it – or you haven’t incorporated the platform into your workflows.

This happens when companies bring on full-featured platforms but don’t work to integrate them effectively into their organizations. Even an “out of the box” platform will need work to function smoothly with your other systems.

An agency with certified platform specialists can audit your systems and employee capabilities and come up with a plan to help you integrate your platform effectively and train employees to use it to its full potential.

How it worked for a Trendline client:

This SaaS customer needed to scale up its email operations to meet surging business demands. A Trendline team worked with the client to provide project management and platform management and conduct an operations audit.

This audit uncovered several opportunities to create efficiencies and optimizations in the client’s processes, which Trendline implemented in the final phase of the project as it continued to support the client’s email team.

2. Data integration:

Is extracting simple yet actionable insights from your martech a project by itself?

In email marketing, for example, performance data should be relatively easy to get. Metrics such as opens, clicks, subscribes/unsubscribes and spam complaints are usually tracked at a message or campaign level and can be reported on directly.

But how easily can you find which customers are most likely to buy at full price and which ones need a big discount to click “Buy now?” Which members of your organization are about to let their memberships lapse or leave your company for another service provider?

Pretty flowcharts and popular buzzwords about achieving a holistic view of your customers make for compelling presentation slides. But if your data is in different formats, systems or platforms (or worse, departments) that don’t talk to each other, or if too few people can unlock the data, you’re going to find it harder to reach this martech Nirvana.

Your organization’s data must be both easy to access and available when you need it so you can empower your marketers to drive better results. There’s plenty of promise today thanks to AI advances and a growing number of platforms designed for non-technical people to gain insight without relying on data experts or IT resources.

Still, no platform worth its price tag is just “plug and play.”

Whether your challenges are technological or organizational, you still must tackle the foundational grunt work: to knock down silos and build bridges that will help you realize the full potential of your data tools.

How it worked for a Trendline client:

A lack of transparency into its email database hindered a national nonprofit’s ability to use email to achieve its business goals. Its 130+ lists and email databases were locked into silos, so it couldn’t tell how many unique email addresses it had or the extent of overlap across all these data sources.

Trendline’s data analysts and programmers created a methodology that revealed all the organization’s unique and valid email addresses, along with other data points the nonprofit could use to test campaigns and target messaging. This new, holistic view of its donors and supporters helped the nonprofit build stronger interactions with its constituents.

3. Tech configuration:

Martech platforms are like cars. Sometimes all they need is a tune-up to run in top form.

If you have used a platform for a long time but haven’t kept up with new versions, you could be missing out on new capabilities, integrations, and processes. Most likely the technology has evolved, especially if it’s cloud-based software as a service. Your uses need to evolve along with your platform capabilities if you want to continue getting the same value.

4. The start-from-scratch approach:

Do you feel as if your martech situation is at the point of no return?

Many clients come to us with a request to blow up their tech stacks and start over. It’s a tempting idea, and while it’s usually not the answer, sometimes it is.

Doing a total makeover on your technology will clear up your mess, and you’ll be able to start over from scratch with technology that’s purpose-built for your needs. But we caution the potential of a heavy price tag.

The demolition can take longer than you expect, and you have to manage your business continuity matters through the wreckage. Once you acquire your new platforms, make sure to allow time for training for proficiency in the onboarding process, for potential data issues and other setbacks that could knock you off your implementation schedule.

How it worked for a Trendline client:

A new bank brought Trendline in to help it build a marketing program from the ground up to support and promote its innovative approach to interest rates.

Teams representing the full spectrum of Trendline’s capabilities tackled all the jobs needed to help the bank launch its program successfully in just 6 months. They set up systems within Salesforce Marketing Cloud to store and manage the bank’s email and customer data, identified effective touch points throughout the customer lifecycle and top customer prospects and created a complete set of automated lifecycle programs and the emails that brought those programs to life.

Wrapping up: Our experts can help you manage your martech for success

A third-party agency can operate with objectivity, plug a skills gap, or identify areas where you’re wasting money on tech that you’ve either outgrown or aren’t using to its fullest capacity.

Trendline Interactive has been working with clients and their marketing tech needs for 10 years. We are a platform agnostic agency that helps companies make decisions and execute critical technologies that accelerate their marketing programs. We’d love to show you how we can help you sort out your own martech mess.

Trendline Interactive

Ready to send better messages?

About the Author(s)

Mark Pollard

Mark is a Principal Consultant at Trendline Interactive. He is the author of Salesforce Marketing Cloud for Dummies and uses his knowledge of the inner workings of ESP software to bring together the technology and data required to execute the delivery of successful email strategies. Mark resides in NJ with his wife and kids, where he can usually be found staring into a screen of one kind or another.

Let's Take This to the Inbox

Sign up for our news, resources and updates. The inbox is our favorite place after all. We’ll make sure it’s worth it. (You can unsubscribe at any time, but you probably already knew that.)